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  • Writer's pictureAini

At Home Lolita Project: This too shall pass

Now that I finished my contest entry piece for the Baby the Star Shine Bright x HarajukuPop #お家でロリータProject contest I figured I should take the time and chronicle the process a little!

First off, I have to thank Buttcape / Stephano for the amazing rundown and translation post of the contest, otherwise I think this would have passed me by without notice.

The contest goal:

"Submit an illustration of Lolita spending her time at home featuring the Babydoll JSK or Karami JSK."

Picking the dress I wanted to draw was easy, the Babydoll JSK lace and ribbon detail and I knew that I would enjoy drawing that!

Babydoll JSK & Princess Drop Headdress Set (2020)


I really liked the idea of drawing a more old school style Lolita dress. I really enjoyed finding the motivation to sit down and have a predetermined subject/theme to draw.

I definitely had a rough vision of what I wanted to draw from the beginning: a girl (me lol) sitting at a window and reaching out for a light / the outside. The whole time the pandemic has been going on and now spring has arrived. The weather has been getting warmer and the desire to go outside and enjoy that has been overwhelming me.

I also wanted to include aspects that make me happy so I selected the hydrangeas like the ones I had gotten in the beginning of my safer-at -home time and my cat Rage.

Moments before she decided to eat the hydrangea - and me googling if they are poisonous to cats - which they are - but only cause depression (lol?) and an upset stomach.

This was my initial sketch, the pose was pretty much set from the beginning!

I spent a lot of time refining the lines, I did want to have more realistic proportions and it took me hours to get everything to a point where I was alright with it. The cats position also didn't vibe with me so I kept redrawing that over and over.

I reached a point where I was happy with most of the details but I really needed to fix the arm, which took a lot of trial and error!

I finally managed to nail it after a good hour or so of just continuously redrawing the arm. The cat got another make-over as well. I preferred this pose of her and her size was more realistic as well. From here on out it was just a matter of detail work and refining the lines.

This is the line art that I posted to social media. I really liked the button face of the cat and the shine on the planter and watering bottle.

So I started coloring - I colored in the line art with a multiply layer to settle on which tones I'd like to use. Also this makes blending the coloring into the line art easier later on.

At this point I wasn't too sure on which colorway the dress should be. I did find myself drawn to the 2020 release colorway of the pink/white x red ribbon detail but I felt like I wanted to honor the older releases instead. So I did create a quick mock-up to help me decide:

As much as I like the colored ones, I felt most drawn to the ivory colorway.

First round of coloring without any atmospheric shading or colors. I had a lot of fun studying how to draw the hydrangea as well since I never tackled a three dimensional flower like that before.

Next I started shading with a purple hue and added in a teal colored light as well as further refining of the hydrangea. For the window I settled on a fancy sky / galaxy motive.

However, I didn't like how small the window was, it didn't represent "the outside" well enough to me.

And as soon as I resized it I started having issues with the cat and the water bottle...not to mention the face! After editing them I decided to simply cut the things I didn't like anymore and redrew her face.

I basically went ahead and changed the facial angle, the middle version of the face just became comically manly to me. I really like how tilted her tilted looks after the revision!

Next came the background, I really wanted it to be dark and somber. I chose a dark low saturated purple / blue so I could create interesting illumination effects coming from the window.

After filling in the base colors I wanted to play with the light effects, I settled on bringing the sky from the window into the room itself. I wanted the window to look like a magical gateway. In the end I also decided to implement a water ripple effect as well.

Oh and I came up with a cute new logo for myself when I redrew the signature! I took a little break and focused on making that it's own thing! It was really refreshing to work on some text based art!

After a few days of a break I decided the image is completed, I posted it on social media and called it a day! I learned a lot in regards to light and some brush technique in Clip Studio Paint during this experience. I made my social media post and called it a day!

I wanted to convey the feeling of missing the outside world but also the excitement and anticipation for the future when we can spend time outside again. The endless possibilities and activities that await us and our loved ones when this surreal and dream-like time will be over. The hydrangea symbolize taking care of ourselves emotionally and physically, while being understanding and grateful for the privilege to weather this out in safety at home.

(I also saw I'm really dumb and used Baby's IG account name to fail-tag them on Twitter ... ouff)

Anyway, here is the final un-cropped version of the painting!

After I submitted my piece I really enjoyed seeing so many lolita artists partake in the contest! There were so so so many amazing entries! Every day more amazing drawings showed up!

I really recommend checking out the contest tag on both Twitter and Instagram to peek at all the fantastic works people around the world created!

I was super excited when I saw that Junie Green the brilliant artist behind Two Tarts and a Princess won the art section of the contest. Her art style is so unique! It was also absolutely amazing to see a western artist win the illustration contest!

You go girl!

I really hope more brands create international contests or start hashtags like this! It was a really fun and inspiring little project during this dark time.

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